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Rodriguez Named HGSE Convocation Speaker

Roberto Rodriguez, Ed.M.’98, deputy assistant to President Obama for education, will address HGSE graduates at the May 27 ceremony.

Roberto Rodriguez
Dean James Ryan and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Speakers Committee announced today that Roberto Rodriguez, Ed.M.’98, who serves on the White House Domestic Policy Council as deputy assistant to President Obama for education, will address graduates and their families at the 2015 Convocation ceremony on May 27.

“I am delighted that Roberto Rodriguez, a 1998 graduate of HGSE, has accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote address at our annual Convocation ceremony. Since his time on Appian Way, Roberto has made significant contributions to federal education policy, working closely with both President Obama and the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy on key education issues,” Ryan said. “I look forward to hearing Roberto’s perspective on public service, education policy, and how his time at HGSE has prepared him for this important work.”

“The Harvard Graduate School of Education is a beacon of higher learning and educational leadership for our next generation,” said Rodriguez. “The Ed School holds a special significance for me, and I look forward to joining the class of 2015 at Convocation later this month.”

Rodriguez has a lengthy career working in various aspects of education policy and has been called a prominent and up and coming education policymaker. Prior to his current position, Rodriguez worked as chief education counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. While working under Kennedy, Rodriguez managed the Democratic education agenda for the committee and led policy development and strategy for legislation addressing early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, and adult education. Rodríguez began his tenure on Capitol Hill working for the Senate HELP Committee on the development of the No Child Left Behind Act. He has worked on various reauthorizations of federal legislation, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Head Start, Child Care, Higher Education, and the America COMPETES Act.

Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Rodríguez worked as senior education specialist at the National Council of La Raza, where he conducted research and analysis of federal and state education reform issues, as well as the development and evaluation of community-based education programs.

Rodriguez was suggested by the HGSE Speaker’s Committee, a newly formed committee consisting of faculty, students, and staff who make speaker recommendations for Ed School events including Askwith Forums and Convocation.

Speakers are nominated and considered based on their experience and ability to offer a meaningful reflection for students and their families. “The Speakers Committee proudly nominated Roberto Rodriguez as a distinguished HGSE alum who has had a substantial impact on federal policy in education,” said Professor Paul Reville, who chairs the committee. “His work with Senator Kennedy on the Senate's HELP Committee, followed by his extended service in the Obama White House on matters of education, has positioned Roberto as one of the most influential players on the federal education scene. We are fortunate to have him join us on the occasion of our 2015 Convocation.”

“I am grateful to the HGSE Speakers’ Committee, not only for their recommendation of Roberto, but also for their time, energy, and thoughtful input over the past year,” Ryan said. “Under Paul Reville’s leadership, the students, faculty, and staff on the committee have been extraordinarily helpful in their consideration of speakers we invite to campus, and I appreciate their terrific work.”

Note: Due to capacity constraints, the event is restricted to HGSE faculty, students, staff, alumni, and guests of our 2015 graduates.

Press Note: Reporters interested in covering Rodriguez speech should contact Jill Anderson at


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